Aerial photo of Gas Drilling in West Virginia

New legislation in Illinois on hydraulic fracturing is being hailed by some as the strongest health and environmental fracking regulations in the nation. But some environmental activists oppose such state-level bills as they lobby for a national ban 

Environmental Activists Debate Fracking Legislation

July 19, 2013

Aerial photo of Gas Drilling in West Virginia

New legislation in Illinois on hydraulic fracturing is being hailed by some as the strongest health and environmental fracking regulations in the nation. But some environmental activists oppose such state-level bills as they lobby for a national ban.

In These Times discussed the fracking debate with ACSF Faculty Fellow Sean Sweeney (GLI); Kristin Lynch, Pacific region director of Food & Water Watch; and Josh Mogerman, deputy director of national media at the NRDC. Sweeney, director of the Cornell Global Labor Institute, is quoted extensively in the interview. He has the following to say about organized labor’s positions on fracking:

Many unions have no position whatsoever on fracking, which is astonishing when you think about the amount of noise there’s been around this issue. What’s at stake in the labor movement at the moment is not just about one project, it’s the advancement of an agenda based on domestic fossil fuel development. The export and building trades, in particular, are fully on board with that agenda, and at the moment, too many big unions are avoiding this fight. Meanwhile, too many of the mainstream environmental organizations are quite happy with market mechanisms and liberalization of energy markets.

So we all have to do some learning and rethinking. The vision we put forward has to be a clear one: We’re against extreme energy. We’re for equitable, sustainable renewables built on community-based power.

Read more from Sean Sweeney in In These Times.